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Comment Re:I'm careful about using the term "Evil" (Score 1) 108

It would also qualify as "stupid". The basic rule of thumb in internet crime is "do only that which isn't worth tracking you down for". Basic financial fraud is a nightmare to handle across juridictions, and no-one gets physically "hurt", so it rarely gets prosecuted. But serial killers tend to come up pretty high on Interpol's hit list, and if you're hacking pacemakers and insulin pumps, that's basically what you are.

Comment Re:Poe's Law? (Score 1) 381

I just think that a self-contained bug farm has a specific appeal that dried-bugs-by-post just doesn't have. I like the idea of insects as food in theory, but it doesn't get me excited. However, this idea does appeal -- fresh home-grown food, and a bit of a novelty at dinner parties (somewhere in the world, this will probably feature in an episode of Come Dine With Me....)

Comment Re:Poe's Law? (Score 1) 381

Except that this product combines eco-friendly with grow-at-home, which is a winning combination. I was lucky enough to have a bedroom with a huge south-facing bay window last year, and throughout late spring and early summer, I was harvesting my own salads and herbs daily. I quite fancy the idea of growing everything for a stir-fry in the kitchen actually....

Comment Re:Duh... (Score 1) 109

The point of the Kickstarter model is that there are laws against normal people making investments. This is due to the long history of fraud and snake oil in the US -- Ponzi schemes; the movie production company that's going to put your small town on the map etc. In order to be allowed to invest in an enterprise not run by someone you know, you have to be a certifiable "informed investor". Microfinance can't work in that climate. (Other countries rely on strong fraud laws to deal with this situation -- with luck the US will follow suit soon.)

Comment Re: Work for free!! (Score 1) 124

Considering a question of closed vs open systems is oversimplifying matters. It is very rare for all parties in any negotiation to have equal power. A big example in the UK at the moment (and for the past 10 years) is supermarkets vs farmers in negotiating the price of milk. Because there are only about 6 major supermarket chains buying from hundreds of dairy farms, the supermarkets have a lot more choice than the farmers, and therefore have all the power in negotiations. Dairy farmers now struggle to make enough money to feed their cows and their families -- it's not just the cows that are being milked.

Without equal power, it is very easy for this sort of situation to arise, and only some kind of union arrangement can redress the balance. "Closed shop" unionism isn't the answer, because that is just another form of monopoly. However, abolishing unions on the grounds of the existence of closed shops is like abolishing banks on the grounds of the existence of Lehman Brothers.

Comment Re: Work for free!! (Score 3, Interesting) 124

This is exactly what free market means. This isn't a problem.

What I've never understood about those who declare that anything that arises from a free market is good is this: why isn't unionisation considered a market force? Why is it OK for large businesses to consolidate to wield ever greater power, but workers are told that acting collectively is "interfering in the market"?

Comment Re:Duh... (Score 1) 109

Investors take risk because they feel the potential reward outweighs the risk. But traditional investors usually look for a lot more reward than 20% off retail as their reward. Would you consider it an "investment" to go to a car dealership, pay 80% of the price of a new car now, and have to way 12-24 months for something that might never be delivered? Hell, would you buy a hamburger for 80% of the normal price, with an expected delivery date of anything from a week on Tuesday until the 1st of December, with no guarantee you'd ever receive it? That's not sensible investment. Now excuse while I go and play Star Citizen (*snort*)

Comment Re: Pigs (Score 1) 167

Now their procedures require them to put their own lives above all others, including use of lethal force on the slight chance their lives are in danger (such as the shooting of the kid with the toy gun).


Soliders are heroes. They put themselves in danger.

Except that soldiers use lethal force to protect themselves far more often than the police do. Soldiers in Iraq shot unhappy civilians because they had no way of knowing they weren't suicide bombers... of course they didn't, but that's always the way. Look at the paranoia in Vietnam, and the impunity that soldiers and officers had to shoot any Vietnamese person on the grounds that they might possibly be Viet Minh soldiers (note, Viet "Cong" was an invented label to make them seem scarier and justify shooting them).

When NATO intervened in the Kosovo crisis, we sat back and threw stones over the wall (and hit many wrong targets) because while we had to do something, "our boys'" lives were too valuable to risk on ground assault. Thousands and thousands of civilians die at the hands of our troops because our military values the lives of soldiers over the lives of civilians (see also the difference in sentence between "unjustified killing" by a soldier and "murder" by a civilian).

Comment Re:let them start their own (Score 2) 135

Elsevier have run through the market acquiring the most prestigious journals with the express intention of achieving a near monopoly and the opportunity to milk the universities with ever higher fees. As I said, the guys doing this have years of experience in academic publishing -- I'll trust their judgement, thanks.

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.